8 Cool Hanukkah Gifts Your Friends Will Love

Hanukkah is just around the corner. Looking for a cool gift for your friends? We’ve got you covered like applesauce on a latke. For the 8 crazy nights, we’ve got you hooked up with 8 crazy cool gifts:

Jewish Wine Labels (Set of 8) ($20)

wine labels

Wine is always a cool gift. Wine with these LOL wine labels are even cooler. Order a set of 8 labels that can be easily applied to a wine bottle of your choice and you’ll be set for every Hanukkah party you to go.

 

PowerPic Wireless Charging Picture Frame ($80)

Take a picture it will last longer. Take a picture, print it, frame it and have your friend charge their phone on top of it. With option of black or white, this is a great gift for anyone on your list that will definitely get some use. 

 

Create Your Own Reel Finder ($30)

reel

Have a friend you’ve known for FOREVER? Like took baths together, went to camp together, ride or die best bud? This 90’s-inspired reel finder is the perfect gift. Capture the nostalgic feel of a 90’s beach vacation photo album with a custom reel finder from UncommonGoods. They let you upload 7 images where you can drop in your favorite memories that they’ll cherish for years to come. 

 

TV-Show Edition Guess Who ($50-$60)

guess who

Can you Guess Who it’s a mystery?! For the friend that is constantly binging Friends and The Office from start to finish 10 times a year, could this BE a better gift? Is your character the youngest vice president in Dunder Mifflin history? Did your character have a stuffed penguin? This custom board game will keep your friends occupied for hours and put to test who is the true all-time fan.

 

Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good: Larry David and the Making of Seinfeld and Curb ($13)

larry david

If there was a Mount Rushmore of Jewish actors, Larry David would be on it and hate it. On top of recounting how Seinfeld and Curb were conceived, PPPG also explores Larry’s on- and off-screen relationships with famous pals like Richard Lewis, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, and the cast of Seinfeld, and contains an in-depth episode guide to Curb Your Enthusiasm. An excellent gift for fans of the chat-and-cut. Pair this book with a set of “Do You Respect Wood” Coasters for added fun. 

 

Homesick Candles (Holidays, States & Cities) ($30)

candles

Know a friend who couldn’t make it home for the holidays? Or maybe they have that one special place that they love to visit? These homesick candles trigger those warm memories with scents reminiscent of each destination. Hand-poured, soy wax candles, they were formulated with input from locals in individual states for thoughtfully authentic aromas. Choose from the potato latke, apple sauce smell of the Hanukkah candle, the salty air and sweet shopping scent of Long Island, or the palm trees and orange slices of Miami, to name a few.

 

Hamsa Mezze Server ($60)

server

Help your friend serve up good times and delicious food for their Hanukkah party, housewarming or game day with this beautiful Hamsa-shaped serving set. Use the five removable sections for snacks and dips, and the tray is a good size for cheese or mezze spreads. 

 

Aromatherapy Heatable Slippers ($48)

slippers

Ready to sit back? These heatable slippers are the perfectly relaxing finishing touch to help your friends warm up and unwind throughout the cold winter. The insoles are filled with organic lavender and flax seeds. Pop them in the microwave and enjoy a toasty, aromatic treat-yourself moment. 

 

For more cool Hanukkah gift ideas, visit the I Give Cool Gift’s Hanukkah page and challah at me if you need any Custom Gift Suggestions this holiday season. 

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blakeAbout the Author: Blake Band founded and runs I Give Cool Gifts, the ultimate destination for gift giving inspiration. A DC-area native and resident, Blake works for Streetsense, the marketing and design collective based in Bethesda. An avid photography and district explorer, Blake spends his time playing soccer and kicking back with his friends watching movies and sports. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Matt: Jewish Linguist of the Week!

matt

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Matt: I’m a DC area native. I grew up in Potomac, MD so for me, coming back to DC was a sensible step to be closer to my family. I missed DC after being away for a while in Israel and then Philly. I missed the greenery, the funky neighborhoods, the beautiful architecture, and the incredible bookstores.

Allie: What were you doing in Israel?

Matt: I was in Israel for a year and a half starting in July 2017. I speak a bunch of different languages including Hebrew, Arabic, and Yiddish, and while living there, I got to use these languages almost every day. I was working as a PR freelancer to fund my experience there, and was mostly there to travel and explore. I traveled to 120 different towns and cities in Israel and 10 different European countries. I blogged about all of it, so you can read about some of my adventures

Allie: I hear you recently landed a job as the new director of GLOE. Tell me about that!

Matt: Full disclosure, today is my second day on the job. But, GLOE is the Gay and Lesbian Outreach and Engagement program of the EDCJCC. It’s the only program of its kind through a JCC in the country. It’s social, cultural, spiritual, and offers people an opportunity for queer Jews to really plug into a Jewish space. It also offers Jewish institutions that are not specifically from this community an opportunity to make their spaces more welcoming and engaging for the LGBTQ+ community. If you’re interested in plugging in, reach out to me!

Allie: What are you most excited about for this role?

Matt: I get to be in my space! I’ve spent a lot of time working in refugee and immigrant communities, where I was in a mostly Latino community, so it’s very different that I get to work in a Jewish and gay space where I don’t have to explain anything about myself. I have so many allies around who get it.

Allie: Are there any GLOE events coming up people should know about?

Matt: Nice Jewish Boys is hosting a Latke Cook-off on December 14th. GLOE is hosting a volunteer event at the Edlavitch DCJCC on December 25th as part of the broader D25 community event.

matt

Allie: Describe your perfect DC day.

Matt: First, I’ll go to Torah Brunch at Bread Furst, and then walk around the Hillwood Estate. Then, I’ll go to a few bookstores. Some of my favorites are The Lantern, Second Story Books, and Kramer Books. I might read at Teaism after the bookstores. For dinner, I’ll go to Paragon Thai. The people there are so nice – for my birthday one year, they gave me gifts. I love Paragon Thai – go visit! After dinner, I’d like to go to my favorite language exchange event where you write the languages you speak on a nametag and can walk around and practice with people.

Allie: What are all the languages do you speak?

Matt: English, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Catalan, and intermediate Yiddish. 

Allie: What about language interests you and how did you ever manage to learn all of these?!

Matt: I love language because it just opens your mind to a different world, you can meet new friends, and you learn about different ways of being and thinking. For me, I’m a big music fan so I will sometimes learn a language because I like the music that it’s sung in. I usually learn languages from a private tutor, and practicing and teaching. I actually teach Hebrew, Spanish, and French. If you want to learn a language – contact me. I think private tutoring is the most effective way to learn, and then you need to use it.

Allie: Are there other languages you want to learn?

Matt: Oh my god, yes. I’ve studied some Greek and am considering taking German or Italian. I found a language exchange person who knows Romanian and wants to learn Spanish, so hopefully we will get together and learn from each other. 

Allie: What’s your favorite language?

Matt: I like Spanish because you can use it almost everywhere in America. French makes me relaxed. But I love all of them.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Matt: They can and should find interesting questions to ask each other besides “What do you do?”

matt

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Sam: Jewish Moishe House Resident of the Week!

sam

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Sam: I was living in Indonesia as part of the Boren Scholars, which is a year-long post-grad language program. I went before officially graduating from the University of Maryland because I wasn’t ready to enter the workforce just yet. I decided to go, learn a new language, and then would work for the government in DC when I came back. 

While I was in Indonesia, I felt far removed from any sense of Jewish community, and decided to apply to be a Moishe House resident in DC. I’d heard about Moishe House from my friend Alyssa Silva, a former resident. I applied to live in Moishe House Capitol Hill and unfortunately didn’t make the cut, but luckily they forwarded my application to Moishe House Northern Virginia and I got in! 

Allie: What was your experience like in Indonesia?

Sam: It was a small cohort of 11 people, and was unlike any experience I’ve ever had. I lived with a host family, and spoke Bahasa which is the national language. But, there are hundreds of local languages in Indonesia, and where I lived most people spoke Javanese. 

Before that experience I had always lived in very Jewish environments, growing up in Jewish day school and then going to the University of Maryland. When I get to Indonesia, people didn’t know anything about Jews or if they did, it was likely a conspiracy theory. Judaism is not one of their recognized religions, which is a problem for the underground Jewish communities there. I told my host family about my Jewish religion after the Pittsburgh massacre, because my grandparents live in Pittsburgh and it was a very emotional time for me. I was really lost and didn’t know what to do, and tried explaining to them where I was coming from and how I was feeling. They were understanding about it. 

Allie: Was that your first experience studying abroad? 

Sam: No. After high school, I went to Bar Ilan University for their Israel Experience One Year Program and took college classes and Judaic studies classes. In the evenings I was a volunteer first responder

Allie: Describe your dream day in NoVA.

Sam: Waking up at 9:00am and then finish prepping the food I’d started last night for a Moishe House brunch event. My friends would come and we’d have a lot of people enjoying brunch, and maybe get tipsy on mimosas. Then probably walk around Arlington with my girlfriend Sarah, maybe do some jump roping. I’d end the day going swing dancing in DC.

sam

Allie: Why did you decide to apply to Moishe House?

Sam: At college, I studied International Development & Conflict Management, and Global Terrorism. I dedicated a lot of my academic career to understanding extremism, and how to combat it by taking a whole society approach and mobilizing communities to create acceptance and strive for dialogue. Part of why I joined Moishe House was so I could take what I learned from a community building perspective and put it into practice.

Allie: What is it like living in Moishe House NoVA?

Sam: It’s a surprising adventure every day. It’s been a real growth experience from a personal standpoint and a programmatic standpoint as I learn to create events people actually want to go to, manage a budget, and send newsletters. It wouldn’t be successful if we didn’t put in the effort to build relationships with people, go to other events, and make things happen. I’m eternally grateful for this opportunity. 

Allie: What’s your favorite Moishe House event you’ve planned?

Sam: I love our Shabbat dinners. Our Shabbat dinners can get even rowdier than our parties. Some of our community members aren’t Jewish and come because they’re just interested in exploring Judaism or are in interfaith relationships, and I love opening the door and helping other people experience Shabbos.

moishe house

Allie: Are there any fun Moishe House events coming up you want people to know about?

Sam: Yes, we are partnering with the Anti-Defamation League on Sunday, December 8th to do a Words to Action training on Anti-semitism. The following Sunday we’re hosting a Babka and Bonfires event in our backyard. We’re also looking for a new resident, so if you’re interested, please fill out this application to join the house!

Allie: What’s on your bucket list?

Sam: Go skiing in Switzerland, where my dad is from. This year, I also want to go to more swing dancing classes.

Allie: If you could invite anyone, what three people would you want to invite to your Shabbat dinner?

Sam: I’d want to build the best conversation that can actually go somewhere. So I’d say Barack Obama, Israeli author Etgar Keret, and Harvard professor Ruth Wisse.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Sam: Connections are made. 

moishe house

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Alex: Jewish History Buff of the Week!

Alex Fosco is GatherDC’s brand new Community Coordinator and she cannot wait to meet you! Get to know all about Alex’s love of Mesopotamian pottery, costuming, and wine. Email her or comment below to welcome her to the team.

alex f

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Alex: I was planning to move to New York after graduating from Penn State this past May, but came to DC for a job and never wanted to leave. I love all of the food and breweries here. I’m very food motivated.

Allie: What did you study in college?

Alex: I studied history and anthropology. I focused on early history: the Levantine era and Mesopotamian pottery. I like history because I love understanding people. History is very informative in who we are, our current cultures, and the foundations of humanity. I like to see the trends and comparisons overtime between where we are and where we were. This has a huge impact on how I view the world.

Allie: Have you ever been on an anthropological dig?

Alex: Yes! I got to study in Israel and do a dig at Tel Akko, which was an Ottoman city. Fun fact, I broke a field record there by collecting 64 buckets of pottery shards. 

Allie: Walk me through your dream day in DC.

Alex: I’d wake up and have a nice cup of coffee with my french press. Then, I’d leave the house at 11:00 am so I can make sure I’ve had enough alone time before I go out into the world. I’d hop on the circulator and meet up with my partner Tyler in Georgetown, even though it might take him an extra half an hour to get there because he’s always late. We’ll stop at a couple of the bookstores there. I’d walk out with too many books because I have no self control when it comes to buying books. 

After that, I’d go watch a $5 movie at AMC because they have that deal on Tuesdays (on my dream day it’s Tuesday). Then, go to Thunder Burger and stop by the nearby wine store afterwards. I’d like to end the evening in the Mt. Pleasant area so I can visit Tyler’s roommate’s dog, a giant Bernese Mountain dog. I’ll end the day watching something funny on Netflix or Hulu.

alex

Allie: What is on your bucket list this coming year?

Alex: I really want to do an international trip and visit my friend in Norway.

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish holiday or food?

Alex: As an adult, I’d say Purim because of the story and I love going out. From a nostalgic perspective, I’d say Passover. It’s hard because I love carbs a lot. It’s always such a wholesome, familial activity. I’d take Passover over Thanksgiving.

Allie: What are you most looking forward to in your role with Gather?

Alex: I’m excited to meet all of the vibrant personalities in DC. So far, I’ve met so many people in my personal experience and there is so much variety in terms of where people come from, what their Jewish life looks like, what their jobs are. I hope to meet you at our happy hour tomorrow night or if not, definitely email me and we can grab coffee sometime. I love coffee.

Allie: What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

Alex: I used to do live action role play, which is basically an unscripted play where you get to be a character in the Dungeons & Dragons story. This was part of a full-contact sport that included sword fighting and costuming. I still enjoy costuming. 

Allie: What do you like most about costuming?

Alex: I got into costuming because of my history major, but also like pop-culture costuming as well. It’s a lot of work, but you have a beautiful final product. This year, I want to volunteer with community theater in DC and help them with their costuming.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Alex: There better be bagels.

alex

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Giving Tuesday with GatherDC: Yoga and Bagels

giving tuesday banner

It’s almost time for Giving Tuesday and that means we’re feeling all mushy and grateful for our community members who make it possible for Gather to even exist (yes, that’s you).
 

To show you how much we appreciate you, we’ve decided that instead of celebrating this global giving movement with tons of emails and posts asking for money – we’re just going to invite you to a gratitude themed vinyasa yoga class led by Gather’s in-house yoga teacher Allie Friedman (200 hour RYT) followed by a Call Your Mother bagel breakfast.
 

What: A 45 minute all-levels yoga class, followed by breakfast and schmoozing
When: Tuesday, December 3rd | Yoga at 7:30am, Breakfast to follow at 8:30am
Where: Our townhouse, 1817 M St NW
Who: Any 20s/30s across Jewish DC
Cost: Free with optional $18 donation (Donate below or Venmo @GatherDC)

If you’re unsure if it’s worth it to wake up early for this gathering, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to provide you with a pro/con list: 

 

Reasons to come
You’ll enjoy 1-2 hours in your Giving Tuesday that don’t involve being bombarded with emails asking for money
• You’ll start the day feeling calm, energized, and dare we say happier
• When you show up to work at 9am, you can humblebrag to your coworker about how you’ve taken a full yoga class before they had their morning coffee
• You might meet a new best friend
• Call Your Mother bagels (*mic drop*)

Reasons not to come
• You hate getting an early start to the day
• You’ve never left a yoga class feeling better than you did before
• You don’t believe in carbs or caffeine
• You hate meeting awesome people

Oh, and if yoga is not your thing – you’re welcome to just come for the bagels! Convinced? Great. Sign up below.
 

P.S. We are so grateful to Sunomi and Call Your Mother for generously donating bagels and a special switchel drink to fuel us up after yoga class.

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Donated Monthly


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atherDC welcomes the participation of people of all abilities, backgrounds, gender identities, and sexual orientations. GatherDC ​fosters inclusive communities​​​ and strive​s​ to accommodate all needs whenever possible. If you require special accommodations, please contact us​ in advance of the event​ at (202) 656-0743, and we will make every effort to meet your needs.

By attending, you understand that photographs and/or video may be taken at this event, and your picture may appear on the GatherDC website, publications, or other media.

 

 

gatherdc

Meet Lilly: Jewish Outdoorswoman of the Week!

When she’s not running around to one of the EIGHT different hotels she does HR for, you might find Lilly Andorsky trekking through Harper’s Ferry, biking around the city, or enjoying a delicious Chinese food dinner. Get to know this happy-go-lucky, nature loving woman!

lilly

Allie: What led you to DC?

Lilly: I grew up in Columbia, Maryland and went to school in Charleston, South Carolina, and after graduating I decided to come back home. I was having FOMO being away from my family.

Allie: How did you get involved in hospitality?

Lilly: I went to school to be in event planning, and after doing internships with event planners I realized it was not what I wanted to do. So, I started working at a resort in Charleston, South Carolina and realized I really liked the HR aspect of that job. I work for Crestline Hotels and Resorts, and support 8 hotels in the DMV area.

Allie: Walk me through your perfect DC day:

Lilly: I would wake up and have a cup of coffee. It would be a beautiful fall day. It would be a weekday so everyone else is working and it wouldn’t be crowded in the city. I would go for a 20-25 mile bike ride around DC, and then stop for some lunch. I’d like to get in a little hike as well, and at the end of the day have a massage. For dinner, I’d go out for Chinese food.

lilly

Allie: Where are your favorite places to hike?

Lilly: I like to hike in Shenandoah, especially Old Rag. I love Sugarloaf because it starts out very woodsy and then there’s a beautiful overlook. I also like Harpers Ferry, my friends and I camp the night before and then do the Overlook Trail in the morning. I just like being being outdoors and around nature, especially when I can be without my phone and computer.

Allie: What’s on your bucket list for this year or goals you have?

Lilly: I don’t really like to set goals. I just want to be happy and keep it simple.

Allie: Who is your Jewish role model?

Lilly: My mother. She’s just great. She enjoys life and makes sure to uphold her Jewish identity. She’s a first generation American and her father was a Holocaust survivor. As I’ve grown older, I’ve gained a deeper understanding about how life wasn’t so easy for her. She had a very different upbringing than normal American children. When I was growing up, my mom made an effort to create a Jewish household and I appreciate that. She’s my best friend.

lilly

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish holiday and why?

Lilly: Passover. The second night my parents always host Seder, and I love it because my dad leads us in “Pesach Jeopardy”. We start off with a shot of tequila. It’s just 30 adults having a really great time. He used to do it on notecards but now he does it on a PowerPoint. It’s really fun.

Allie: What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

Lilly: My birth story is in the Library of Congress. My dad was in Desert Storm when my mom went into labor with me. And through a small coincidence, he was able to come home for my birth. My mom reached out to StoryCorps to tell this story, and everything they record is in the Library of Congress

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Lilly: They laugh.

 

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

A Nice Jewish Girl’s Guide to Noshing at Taim

taim falafel

Israeli Chef Einat Admony and her husband Stéfan Nafziger recently opened a new, vegetarian Israeli restaurant called Taïm in Georgetown. I recently went to discover if Taïm truly lives up to its namesake, which means “tasty” in Hebrew. 

I was personally very excited to nosh at Taïm because I’m vegan and appreciated their mostly plant based – and kosher – menu. I was happy to discover that their falafel was so crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, light, and overall delicious! To me, good falafel is like manna from heaven. 

Chef Admony explains:

“I really believe Israeli food is vegetable-centric. It’s also a melting pot of flavors from Morocco to Eastern Europe. It’s all about choices.” 

Taïm highlights the Jewish diaspora cuisine with spices of saffron, cumin, and tahina. Chef Admony proves that there’s so much more flavor to Israeli food than just tahina. She says:

“The difference between Israeli cuisine compared to other cuisines is much like us [Jews], Israeli cooking is a melting pot of flavors. It comes from a lot of different cultures that came together throughout Israel.

What’s nice about Taïm is that although much they prepare is naturally vegan, it’s NOT a strictly a vegan restaurant. So, it’s also inclusive to family members who don’t want to eat a strictly vegan diet.

For example, my mother who is not about that “vegan life” was able to enjoy Taïm’s fries with a saffron aioli, which was sadly not vegan due to the eggs in the sauce. She also loved the Iraqi dish, sabich pita sandwich. It looked so delicious and fresh! If you are an egg enthusiast, then try this fluffy pita sandwich stuffed with tender fried eggplant, sliced hard boiled egg, amba (mango sauce–a personal favorite) tahina, and salad. The staff at Taïm is very accommodating and happy to make any dish vegan if they are asked, including the sabbich. 

Taïm is so much for than falafel and hummus. It’s selection of kosher mezze reflects Admony’s Israeli heritage (Yemenite and Persian). Some other amazing “must try mezzes” on the menu are:

  • Hummus: It is full of zaatar seasoning and freshly made by the batch. 
  • Spanish Eggplant: A delicious compote of eggplant and tomato. Taïm’s Spanish eggplant is not your pre-made glatt kosher eggplant and tomato compote served family simchas and shul onegs. It’s freshly made, and actually tastes a bit like cold eggplant parmesan. 
  • Moroccan Carrots: This incorporates harissa, which gives it a nice little bite. 
  • Tabouli: It’s a good find, full of fresh herbs and is light! 
  • Vegan Baba ganoush: This is my personal favorite on the menu. Most baba ganoush contains egg, making it almost impossible for vegans (such as myself) to enjoy. Like the well-known scene in the movie “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” when Adam Sandler eats the hummus with the spoon, that’s how I enjoyed my baba ganoush at Taïm..

Chef Admony incorporates spices from all over the Middle East. While there are many chefs opening Israeli restaurants, Admony is making her name in a male-dominated cooking world. After all, to be a true balaboosta, you need a whole lot of chutzpah (audacity) and ruach (spirit), both of which Admony has in spades. The pricing of Taïm is reasonable. However, the side mezzes can start to add up and it can be hard to choose which ones to get. Taïm also offers a selection of seltzers. After all, seltzer is the Jewish champagne. 

L’chayim!

 

Editor’s note: Instagram has informed us that if you show your DC Kosher phone card holder, you can get a 10% discount during November. You can get one of these phone backs from Ohev Shalom (@JewsofDC).


 

 

 

micheleAbout the Author: Michele Amira is a nice Jewish girl,  DC based journalist, spoken word artist, and vegan. When not writing, she might be found Israeli dancing,  listening to hip-hop, and enjoying a l’chaim (toast) with her favorite drink – margaritas on the rocks. 

 

 

 

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Andrew: Jewish Home Chef of the Week

andrew

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Andrew: It’s been my dream to move to DC ever since I interned here during college for House Majority Leader Pelosi at the time. I fell in love with the city, it was easy to navigate and fit me so well personality-wise. I love politics, and DC is the political epicenter of the nation. Plus, there’s so much action here which is great because I’m someone who likes to be very involved. After graduating, I got a job working for HUD (Housing and Urban Development department). 

Allie: Have you always been interested in politics?

Andrew: Ever since high school I’ve known I wanted to work in the public sector so I could do something to improve people’s lives and give them better opportunities. I was very inspired by the 2008 election and got into politics after that. 

Allie: What was it like interning for Nancy Pelosi?

Andrew: I had the time of my life. It was a part of a Semester in Washington program that I did during college. I was on Capitol Hill and I learned so much, both in terms of policy and politics, as well as expectations and professional decorum. I gained more maturity and broader perspectives on things.

Allie: Walk me through your perfect DC day.

Andrew: I would check out one of the farmer’s markets and Trader Joe’s in the morning, and then play basketball with my friends. After that, I’ll have a nice light lunch and then go to a cultural event at an embassy or museum. I love doing things where I can learn and feel awe-inspired. Then, I might ride my bike to a new area of the city. Since I’m still relatively new, I’m amazed by all the different pockets of DC. 

Later, I’ll go out to dinner with friends at Zaytina. I started going there during the government shutdown because José Andrés had free sandwiches, and just kept going back. If it’s a Sunday, I would also prepare my dinner list for the week and do some cooking. 

andrew

Allie: Is cooking a big hobby of yours?

Andrew: Yes, I love cooking – it’s very rewarding. I have a whole spice and cutting board area set up in my apartment and love experimenting with different spices, seeds, and mustards. I love chopping produce, and making recipes that are healthy and fun. I’m always trying new things. 

Allie: What inspired your love of cooking?

Andrew: I grew up in a house where we were all foodies, and my mom was a very big advocate for cooking. She taught me a lot. I’m also someone who has struggled with weight and lost weight, and don’t want to regress and go back. To maintain my healthy lifestyle, I’ve learned to make dishes that are nutritious and enjoyable.

I also love cooking for others and hosting them for Shabbat or Havdalah. Hosting is such a nice way to welcome people into your how and show a different part of your personality. I think that how and why someone cooks says a lot about their values.

Allie: Do you have any cooking goals for yourself this year?

Andrew: I’d like to get into baking, which is much more scientific and you really have to follow instructions. Baking will be a new challenge for me, and I think will give me a big sense of accomplishment and joy.

Allie: What are your favorite ways to spend free time in the city?

Andrew: I love going to the embassies, or new exhibits at museums like the Freer Sackler Gallery. I really like to pursue things that get me out of my comfort zone, and DC has so many educational opportunities that help me see things from different angles. I also love the incredible diversity of speakers in DC. I went to see Hilary and Chelsea Clinton a few weeks ago and am going to see Nikki Haley this week. 

I’ve also been inspired by DC’s fitness culture. Biking seems like a religion down here, and I’ve been trying to pick up my biking pace on a daily basis. I love long extended bike rides.

Also, I enjoy relaxing at Compass Coffee. That is where I do some of my best decompressing, reading, and thinking. You can almost always find me there during a free weekend afternoon.

Allie: What are you looking forward to this coming year?

Andrew: Since I’m still pretty new, I really am excited about all of the young Jewish professional events around town. I like the more meaningful, intimate gatherings that create a sense of camaraderie. I’m hoping to get more involved with FIDF’s young professional arm.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Andrew: It brings out the best of us. We build a sense of community, camaraderie, and friendship – which is exactly what we need more of. 

andrew

 

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Mollie: Jewish Foodie of the Week

When she’s not empowering women as the president of JWI’s Young Women’s Leadership Network, Mollie Bowman is taste-testing the best of the Michelin Guide in DC, enjoying the monuments at night, or dreaming of becoming a comedy writer.


mollie 2

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Mollie: I’m from Atlanta, and moved to DC for school at GW. I have no intention of leaving anytime soon.

Allie: I heard you worked on the Hilary campaign in 2016, do you still work in politics?

Mollie: I currently work in consulting but all of my clients are government. I’ve always loved politics. I worked on Hilary’s campaign in 2016. We’re in a tumultuous time right now – and there’s so much opportunity to do good. 

Allie: Are you planning to work on a campaign for the 2020 election?

Mollie: Maybe. I have my candidate, I would love to see a woman as president. 

Allie: Walk me through your perfect DC day from start to finish.

Mollie: I would wake up early, I’m definitely a morning person. I’d go to pilates or SoulCycle. I think I would have breakfast at Blue Duck Tavern. If it’s beautiful, I’d love to walk on the Mall or Arboretum. I’d go to the American History Museum, National Gallery of Art, or the Newseum. Then, I’d have dinner with friends. I’ve built such a network in the city over the past 7 years and feel like my friends are my family. We’d go somewhere really delicious for dinner, maybe Tail Up Goat. I’m such a foodie. After, maybe I’d walk around the monuments. There’s a lot of power in seeing the monuments for me. 

mollie

Allie: As a foodie, what is your favorite dish or cuisine?

Mollie: I love sushi. I would eat sushi every meal if I could. I just made reservations at Sushi Taro. I live by the Michelin Guide. In DC, food has such a unique ability to bring people together. You can be fighting across the aisle in politics, but you can come together across the table. Really good restaurants play a big role in the city. You see José Andrés give so much back – he’s like a one man FEMA. 

Allie: I hear you’re the new JWI Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) President. How did you get involved in JWI?

Mollie: I went to my first JWI event last year. It was a Jewish Women in Policy event, there were three members of Congress speaking, many women involved in advocacy at the top levels. It didn’t feel like an elite gathering, it felt like real women talking about their experiences in that space and how Judaism has connected them to giving back. I fell in love with JWI from that one event. JWI’s events put an emphasis on mentorship, intergenerational leadership, and engaging young women. I applied to be on the YWLN Board after the conference and have loved it so much that I am now the board president (as of August)!

mollie

Allie: Are there any JWI events coming up that our community should know about?

Mollie: One event that just passed was in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Breaking the cycle of domestic violence is a big pillar of JWI. We recently assembled care kits for women in domestic violence shelters and collected children’s books to go in libraries in those shelters. We have our Young Women’s Leadership Conference coming up on December 15th. That’s our biggest event of the year where we hear from the Women to Watch who are such incredible, accomplished Jewish leaders. I’d encourage any young, Jewish woman in Washington to attend. 

Allie: Do you have any goals for the coming year?

Mollie: I want to start writing more to give myself a creative outlet. I’d love to get into comedy writing. I’ve never dabbled in it before, but it would be a dream of mine. I’d also like to try to focus on putting out gratitude more than apologies. This year I’m trying to deserve to occupy the spaces I’m in, not have imposter syndrome, not feel like things are always my fault.

Allie: Do you have a Jewish role model?

Mollie: My mom. I grew up reform, but with so much reverence for Judaism. My mom always made Judaism such a special part of my childhood. We did Shabbat every Friday night, and Passover was so fun. She made Judaism so important to me. I’m like a carbon copy of my mom and take this with so much honor. I would also say Rachel Gildiner. She’s been such a grounding force in my life. She serves with so much grace as the leader of GatherDC.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Mollie: There’s power in numbers to make a difference. I was at the Return Again Service at Adas Israel for Yom Kippur, and Rabbi Hotzblatt mentioned that there were thousands of Jews worshipping publicly and how that in and of itself is a redemption. I was overwhelmed by that.

mollie and shelly

 

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Blake: Jewish Gifting Pro of the Week

blake band

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Blake: I grew up in this area, went to Wootton High School and then University of Florida for college.  I stayed at UF for grad school in entrepreneurship/entrepreneurial marketing. I came back to DC to get a job, and interned for Cava Restaurant Group before getting a job at a startup. I stayed because I like DC, I like the vibe. I’m not a New York person.

Allie: As someone who studies entrepreneurship, are you a big “Shark Tank” fan?

Blake: Yes – I love “Shark Tank”. I was in school in 2014, which was the “Shark Tank” era. My house is littered with “Shark Tank” products, whether they’re gifts or things I bought for myself. I’ve always really enjoyed new products and tech.

Allie: Have you put your entrepreneurship skills into action?

Blake: I’ve had a lot of lemonade stands. My latest endeavor is IGiveCoolGifts.com. It’s a one-stop shop for your gift-giving needs. It’s a clean, simple, easy-to-use interface with cool ideas for things your friends could actually use and won’t throw away. I’ve always loved giving gifts. I think if you put in a little effort, it can really make a big impact for someone. On the site, I also give custom gift suggestions. So if you have a wedding coming up, a White Elephant exchange, or a housewarming party – I’m happy to lend my skills. This site has also been a great way to connect with different makers and small businesses who are doing really cool things, and give them a publication to get a little more out there. 

Allie: Is gift giving your love language?

Blake: Definitely. I’m terrible at receiving gifts, but I love giving them. Growing up, for birthdays or Hanukkah, my family made it a big gifting thing. My mom celebrates my birthday as a national holiday in her mind. There were always multiple layers of gifts for it. My mom has an art and design background, and my dad has a quirky side – growing up with that led me to want to give cool gifts to people as a way to connect with them. 

Allie: What are a few good gift suggestions for a Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving host?

Blake: An electric chainsaw carving knife is fun – I saw this on The Grommet. There’s a company called Muirwood Reclamations, and they do a concrete cake stand. I’d maybe bake a cake and bring it on a concrete cake stand that I’d give as a gift. Or you could give a smart thermometer that goes in the oven, and syncs up to your phone and will tell you when the food is done. Stressed out around family? There’s CBD gummies for that. 

Allie: Walk us through your perfect day in DC.

Blake: I’d wake up a little late and grab breakfast at Dupont Market, then go to the gym so I can feel better about the things I’m doing the rest of the day. I’d go to Union Market and spend hours there, then meet up with a friend and explore a new museum or exhibit at the Hirshhorn or the Arboretum. I’ll bring my camera and take photos. I’ll probably take a nap, and then have dinner somewhere low key like Bar Charley. I’d find an Old Fashioned somewhere like Two Birds,One Stone – which is now Destination Wedding. The drinks are still incredible. Then, I’d be home relatively early.

Allie: You mentioned photography in your perfect day. Is that a hobby of yours?

Blake: Yes, I really like photography and using it as a mechanism to explore. I like to bring an actual camera rather than using my phone, because I find that gives me a good excuse to take photos of random things and people.

blake with camera

Allie: What are your go-to ways to relax?

Blake: I play soccer every week through District Sports. I like working out when I can. And I’m a huge movie and TV fan. Right now, I love “Fleabag” on Amazon Prime and “Peaky Blinders” on Netflix. For movies – I just watched “Yesterday”, “Book Smart”, and “Spiderman Far from Home”.  

Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?

Blake: Hanukkah. My family does a big Hanukkah party every year. We do a Secret Selma, which is just a Jewish version of Secret Santa. We pick names out of a hat on Thanksgiving and then exchange gifts during Hanukkah. I take it very seriously. Also, my aunt is a great cook and she makes us a mean red velvet cake. 

Allie: What’s on your bucket list?

Blake: I have a list of things I want to accomplish before turning 30 – skydiving, sliding across the hood of a car, tying a bow-tie, traveling to a city alone, and changing a tire. In life, the bucket of my bucket list would be to host SNL. I’d also love to start a business – whether it be opening a restaurant or making a really great product.  

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Blake: Someone will know my grandpa or uncle. My uncle is an OBGYN in the area at Capital Women’s Care and there’s always someone who went to him or knows someone who has been to that office.

blake

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.